7 Physical Symptoms of Anxiety No One Tells You About

Anxiety and panic disorders are quite common, but the physical symptoms of these mental health problems aren’t widely understood.

Whilepanic attacks can and do happen, there are some slightly more unusual conditionsthat someone with diagnosed anxiety might encounter. These symptoms can be inconvenient and, sometimes, trigger more anxiety.

It’s important to stress that the followingissues do not necessarily mean you have an anxiety disorder. But even if you do, it is crucial to get these symptomschecked by a doctor to ensure that there are no other underlying medical problems.

That said, here are seven surprising conditions and ailmentsanxiety can trigger.

1. Headaches

Technically, migraines are not a symptom of anxiety, but research shows that anxiety disorders, depression disorders and migraines tend to overlap. If a person has one of these problems, they are more likely to have the others.

Personally speaking, I get silent migraines withauras, and they tend to overlap with a depression phase of my illness. When my anxiety has exceededwhat my normal relaxation techniques can calm, I mayalso experience dull “cluster headaches” that can stretch over several hours ora few days.

Because these conditionscan line up with serious neurological issues, it is crucial to notify your doctor about persistent symptoms andensure that they are related to your mental health –notanything else.

2. Nosebleeds

Nosebleeds can occur due to blood pressure spikes fromanxiety. But this is not a typical problem for every anxiety sufferer. Nosebleeds usually overlap with other issues relating to the nasal cavity. However, theycan be particularly distressing in social situations, which may, in turn, cause more anxiety.

I have personally experienced nosebleeds while out shopping in crowded areas, as well as while I’ve been asleep. And wakingup with blood in one’smouthcanbe quite disconcerting.

3. Anxiety Belly

I’m going to lovingly refer to this as “anxiety belly,” but its practical effects are not so cute. From persistent stomach churning andfeelings of nausea to diarrhea and vomiting, anxiety can wreak havoc on the digestive system. If I am having a particularly challenging day — usually brought on by having to go out in unfamiliar public settings, I will need several trips to the bathroom. This can make traveling especiallydifficult.

I’ve found that, for me, eating a good diet and gettingplenty of exercise can significantlyreduce this aspect of anxiety.

4. Someone Banging a Drum in Your Ear

It sounds like a persistent pulsing noise, and it’s especially evident at nighttime when the rest of the world is quiet. This drumming, sometimes diagnosed aspulsatile (throbbing) tinnitus, can sound like your heart is beating — often quite rapidly and painfully.

For some anxiety sufferers,the soundsare a warning sign of a panic attack, while others — like myself –experience drummingperiodically.

Self care strategies like removing stresses — as well as exercise, healthy eating and quality sleep — can help. Be aware that pulsatile tinnitus and similarproblems can lead tosleeplessness and insomnia–a more common symptom of anxiety.

5. Eating Far Too Much

Whileloss of appetite is often associated with anxiety, the reverse canalso be an issue. I personally struggle with this.

I often joke that if I didn’t exercise as much as I do, I would probably have a weight management problem. When my anxiety ramps up, I tend to eat large amounts of food. Thankfully, I have managed to tackle theissue without it becoming an eating disorder, but there is a significant overlap between anxiety and binge eating.

6. Teeth Grinding

Suffers of anxiety may often wake up with jaw pain. This can come from teeth grindingwhileasleep. I also clench my jaw while working, butI only notice the habitwhen pain sets in.

Mouth guards canbe prescribed for this problem, but relaxation techniques before sleep — as well as frequent breaks from work to check in with thebody — can also be beneficial.

7. Hypersensitivity

When my anxiety is bad, I don’t want to touch people or have them touch me. Sensory problems arenotunusual for anxiety sufferers, and sometimes there are otherstrange effects.

Anybody who reacts to the sensation of cotton wool rubbing together — sorry if you cringed at just the thought — will understand.When my anxiety is extremely high, everyday objects — like towels and even clothes — can feel noxious to touch. I also feel my teeth become more sensitive.

Anxiety can affect other senses too. I sometimes experienceauditory hallucinations, especially if a place is noisy and my anxiety is particularly bad. Theycan take the form of whispering voices and, occasionally, music. Auditory hallucinations are more common for people with serious depression ordisorders like schizophrenia, so it is important to consult your doctor.

Other sufferers experience blurry vision and a sense of tunnel vision. Anxiety can also reportedly affect taste. Some sufferers report everything tasting metallic, while others saythey find things too salty or smoky.

Getting Help

If you or someone you know is experiencing mental health issues like anxiety, it is important to seek medical help. As the above might show, mental health can have a direct impact on our physical health too. Seeminglysimple anxiety — which is challenging enough — can become even more debilitating. Fortunately, there are a range of treatments that can help.

If you want to develop a self-care routine that can lower anxiety, you may also like this list of hobbies that can help reduce stress.

Photo Credit: Alex Jones/Unsplash


Jan K
Jan S2 months ago

Thank you for this

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

william Miller
william Miller2 years ago


NitaSick L.
Nita L2 years ago

Your article is spot on. I have many of these symptoms when I'm having anxiety attacks. Mine was so bad that I had to get help. Thank you for sharing this. I hope people read this and realize that we are not trying to get attention but that we have a real problem when we are having anxiety attacks. Shared

Marie W.
Marie W2 years ago

Anxiety AKA stress can kill.

Danuta Watola
Danuta W2 years ago

thank you for sharing

Cela V.
Cela V2 years ago


Shirley S.
Shirley S2 years ago

Good information. I think if a person is prone to quick anger may be another sign.

Iskrica Knežzevic

thank you

Dolores M Goytia
Dolores M Goytia2 years ago

Its sad that some people ignore someone with anxiety and how it triggers other physical and mental disorders. They sometimes say, "Oh, that person is crazy they just want attention just ignore them." Sorry to say that these people are ignorant and insensitive they need to educate themselves especially if its someone they know or whether its someone they see at work or in public. Your article is great, straight to the point, and I hope that all members of Care2 take time to read your article its also very informative. Thank you so much for caring enough of others who suffer with anxiety and giving them alternative ways to cope with it. God Bless you.